The Ustad Arba Music Group

Ustad Arba Music Institute was established by Shri Akbar Khan, a court musician and social worker. The institute of traditional folk music aims to identify and recognize the traditional arts and rich cultural heritage of Jaisalmer as the Golden City of Western Rajasthan. This Organization is non-profit and recognized by Government of Rajasthan ( India ) and also has been included in the UNESCO World Music Directory on the internet .

 It is a historical and geographical fact that desert society has carved out a way of life and ethos to survive and respond to hard vagaries and arid nature through deep and sensitive music as well as aesthetic experiences in the forms of literature, sculpture and paintings. Present traditions of the Thar  desert can easily be traced to the 16th Century. One can go further into history, musical principles are traced through the use of musical instruments Kamayacha, Sarangi, Algoza, Murli, Morchang (Jews-harp), Shehnai, Khartal, Dholok, Dhol(Drum), Ghara (ordinary water pitcher). Like all Indian traditional spiritual and material culture experiences, the folk, Sufi (Mystic) music and dances also became institutionalized through caste system. The caste becomes the repository and excellent practitioners of different art forms.

This organization also has created a performing group “The Ustad Arba Music” in 1981. It’s main aims are to promote and preserve the Manganiyar, Langa, Kalbelia, Bhopa (Story tellers), Kamad (devotional singers) and Bhat (Puppeters ) communities and their traditions. This is a big project the group is working on and wishes to develop. In the creation of this group, this organization has selected prominent and talented folk musicians, instrumentalists and professional Kalbelia (Gypsies) Bhawai, Ghoomar, Teratali and Chari (fire) dancers

The Traditional singing and dancing includes different repertories such as : devotional songs of bordic heros Ramdeo Peer (Saint), Pabuji, Tejaji, Rani Bhatiyani Sarup, Sati Goma, Sati Gunsar (folk Godesses) Kabir, Meera, Sufiyana Muslims (Mystical) songs : Bulle Shah, Shah Latif, Kanwar Bhagat, Moomal-Mahendra, Dhola-Maru, Lailah Majanu, Shasi-Panu (Love Songs) Childbirth and Wedding Songs.

 The Ustad Arba Music Group

 This organization also has created a performing group “The Ustad Arba Music” in 1991. It’s main aims are to promote and preserve the Manganiyar, Langa, Kalbelia, Bhopa (Story tellers), Kamad (devotional singers) and Bhat (Puppeters ) communities and their traditions. This is a big project the group is working on and wishes to develop. In the creation of this group, this organization has selected prominent and talented folk musicians, instrumentalists and professional Kalbelia (Gypsies) Bhawai, Ghoomar, Teratali and Chari (fire) dancers.

   The Traditional singing and dancing includes different repertories such as : devotional songs of bordic  heros Ramdeo Peer (Saint), Pabuji, Tejaji, Rani Bhatiyani Sarup, Sati Goma, Sati Gunsar (folk Godesses) Kabir, Meera, Sufiyana Muslims (Mystical) songs : Bulle Shah, Shah Latif, Kanwar Bhagat, Moomal-Mahendra, Dhola-Maru, Lailah Majanu, Shasi-Panu (Love Songs) Childbirth and Wedding Songs.

Imamddin Khan,  belongs to Royal families of musicians called “Alamkhana Gharana” a titular head of hereditary caste Manganiyar and Langa are professional singers and musicians who traditionally perform to their Jajman (Patrons) Rajput families. He play Khartal or Castanet which are four pieces of wood and is played by hand. He is part of Artistic Management of “Ustad Arba Music Group”. He has been working with many Indian as well as international researchers, students, Anthropologists, Authors and Musicologists for their projects of Study and Research in the field of folk music, art, culture, traditions and professional performers. He is also honoured by Vice President of Croatia. For best performance  in the 42nd International Folklore Festival.

Kamruddin Khan Born on 1st January 1961 at the household of Akbar Khan a musician of the Royal Family of Jaisalmer. He learnt Harmonium and Khartal from his own family. He has performed in national and international events, workshops, conferences and in many Indian movies such as “Rudaali”, “Lamhe”, “Reshma Aur Shera” “Sarfarosh” “ Krishna ” “Kshatriya”, “Hum Dil De Cuke Sanam”, “Ab Tumare Hawale Vatan Sathioyn” “Lekin”, TV Serial “Yatra” and International documentaries films. He has received many honors and awards for special contribution in the field of folk music, art and culture.

Hakim Khan Manganiyar. is the most popular and an approved B high grade player of All India Radio, who play a Chrodophonic and string instrument Kamayacha is old and traditional instrument of Jaisalmer and Barmer districts of Rajasthan. He has performed in many foreign countries : France, Russia, Mangoliya, USA, Japan, Hong-Kong, Germany, London, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria and also accompanied the European musicians for fusion music. He knows many Ragas and Classical aspects.

Hakama Khan Manganiyar  . He sings with a powerful and moving voice while playing Harmonium and he knows folk and Sufi (Mystic) singing style in different traditional Ragas such as Goond Malhar, Bhairvi, Subh, Shourath, Maand, Desh, and Khamazi (Khamach).

Kutla Khan Manganiyar .Born 3rd February 1976 at the household of Hakim Khan, village Haduwa near Barmer. He is an approved Dholak Player in France , Spain , Belgium , Germany , USA , Italy , Japan , UK and he has accompanied the International musicians orchestra and dancers. He also has knowledge of many Tala (Rhythms), Toyacha, (Dadara), Kalwara (Keharwa), Adaadhautala (deepachandi), Rupak and Iaptal. Achar Khan was born at household of Rane Khan, Village Khinya of Jaisalmer District. He is a prominent player of Murli (Snack Charmers Flute) and Shehnai ( a twin reed wind instrument) player of western Rajasthan. He has not only performed in India but also in International festivals of Music, Workshops and cultural exchange programmes in France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Japan, Germany, Mauritius, U.K., Scotland, Canada, Norway, Israel and Switzerland.

Taga Ram Bhil . Born 17 April 1960 at household of Topan Ram Bhil, village Moolsagar near Jaisalmer region. He is an approved high grade artist of All India Radio. He learnt folk and classical ragas from Akbar Khan a court musician who is founder of Ustad Arba Music Institute. Taga Ram Bhil is very talented and prominent player of Algoza (double vertical flutes), Morchang, and internationally known as Jew-sharp and also he play Ghara (an ordinary water pitcher). He has performed in France , UK , Spain , Germany , Italy , Sweden , Switzerland , Norway , Denmark and has accompanied the international musicians for fusion music.

Asha Sapera and khatu sapera are well-known Gypsy or Kalbelia dance of Western Rajasthan in the Thar Desert . She belongs to a professional caste of Gypsies or Nomads called Kalbelia. The Kalbelias are disciples of Jalandharnath and are also snake Charmers. She dances like a creeping snake, wearing beautiful back clothes and garlands of beads and ornaments.

Swaroop Khan Manganiyar. was born at the household of Mishri Khan at village Khudal district Barmer. He is belongs to Pailwal Brahamin Famllies drummer.He is one of the Best drum player. He has performed in Desert Festival. Camel festival. Marriages parties and at also performed at National level.

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About Yuki Okamoto

Freelance Internet Marketer/ Bellydance Japan Magazine Writer/ Raqs Sharqi -The Joy of Dance- SNS Managerとして活躍中。 2010年には、ベリーダンスイベント運営/ Marketing戦略立案施行を行うRaqs ART Internaitonalを立ち上げ、Suhaila Salimpour, Huleya HiromiのSNSの運営管理、インターネットにおける市場戦略立案施行を行う。 I hope that Raqs Sharqi -The Joy of Dance- promote every Oriental/Middle Eastern/Belly/Raqs Sharqi dancers and everyone who loves dancing sisterhood!
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